Background: A better understanding of the quality of cellular immune responses directed against molecularly defined targets will guide the development of TB diagnostics and identification of molecularly defined, clinically relevant M.tb vaccine candidates.
Methods: Recombinant proteins (n = 8) and peptide pools (n = 14) from M. tuberculosis (M.tb) targets were used to compare cellular immune responses defined by IFN-γ and IL-17 production using a Whole Blood Assay (WBA) in a cohort of 148 individuals, i.e. patients with TB + (n = 38), TB- individuals with other pulmonary diseases (n = 81) and individuals exposed to TB without evidence of clinical TB (health care workers, n = 29).
Results: M.tb antigens Rv2958c (glycosyltransferase), Rv2962c (mycolyltransferase), Rv1886c (Ag85B), Rv3804c (Ag85A), and the PPE family member Rv3347c were frequently recognized, defined by IFN-γ production, in blood from healthy individuals exposed to M.tb (health care workers). A different recognition pattern was found for IL-17 production in blood from M.tb exposed individuals responding to TB10.4 (Rv0288), Ag85B (Rv1886c) and the PPE family members Rv0978c and Rv1917c.
Conclusions: The pattern of immune target recognition is different in regard to IFN-γ and IL-17 production to defined molecular M.tb targets in PBMCs from individuals frequently exposed to M.tb. The data represent the first mapping of cellular immune responses against M.tb targets in TB patients from Honduras.